With the Washington Nationals (86-75 record) already removed from playoff contention last week, the team had one goal in mind heading into its matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sept. 28– win for Davey Johnson.
Johnson, who has managed the Nationals for the past three seasons, had already announced that he would retire from coaching following this season. But the 70-year-old manager had another announcement for his team once they learned they were officially out of the National League wildcard hunt: Johnson had told his players that he wanted to finish his career 300 wins above .500, and his request was successfully answered as the Nationals beat the Diamondbacks, 2-0 on Sept. 28.
The victory advanced Johnson’s career coaching record to 1,372 wins to 1,070 losses, so even with a Nats loss Sept 29 he’ll still have at least 300 wins above a .500 record. Johnson will now retire as only the 15th coach to reach such a milestone.
“It’d be nice to have that number, so that’s why I was pushing them,” said Johnson, who has served 50 years in the major leagues, either as a player or coach. He won two World Series titles as a second baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, and also won a World Series title as a manager for the New York Mets in 1986. He was named National League Manager of the Year in 2012 after leading Washington to a franchise-record 98 wins.
After the Nationals’ win on Sept. 28, his players gave him a bottle of wine to celebrate accomplishing his last request.
“Those guys are great,” Johnson said. “I think they were feeling it as much as I was, and that was wonderful. The effort was outstanding, and I can’t even put words on it.”